[World] Uvalde shooting: Texas school gunman 'walked in unobstructed'
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Image source, EPAImage caption, People have been laying flowers near the school campus in Uvalde as tributes
A gunman who attacked a primary school in Texas on Tuesday was able to enter the building unobstructed, police say.
Texas Ranger Victor Escalon said no armed guard challenged the teenage attacker and it is unclear if the school door was even locked.
Mr Escalon defended the police response amid mounting criticism of an apparent delay in confronting the gunman.
Reports quoted witnesses saying police were hesitant to confront the killer inside Uvalde's Robb Elementary School.
Mr Escalon said at Thursday's press conference that initial reports the gunman had shot a guard were incorrect.
He said officers entered the school four minutes after the gunman.
"They [didn't] make entry immediately because of the gunfire they were receiving," Mr Escalon told reporters.
But an hour lapsed before the gunman was killed in a shootout as US Border Patrol tactical teams arrived.
The attacker shot dead 19 students and two teachers, and injured at least 17 more people.
Reports quoting eyewitnesses have said police were urged to storm the building immediately.
A father whose daughter died in the attack told the Associated Press news agency he had considered running into the school with bystanders out of frustration with the alleged police inaction.
Mr Escalon - a Texas Ranger, and spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety - said that during the time officers were outside the school they were calling in reinforcements and "also evacuating students, teachers".
"An hour later US Border Patrol tactical teams arrive, they make entry and shoot and kill the suspect," he added. "Immediately... it turns into a rescue operation."
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